NOT SO (IM)PEACHY?
Will impeachment happen? What’s the history of impeachment? Do I have to have an extra-marital affair in the Oval Office to get one? Let’s answer all these questions and more.
So you’ve heard the news. Nancy Pelosi is commencing impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump, on counts of leveraging his position as sitting President on general elections, past and present. For those who haven’t been following the recent developments – a whistleblower alleged Trump had asked for a quid pro quo, dangling a state $400,000,000 aid package as a ‘carrot’ in order to encourage an investigation into his possible future opponent. Since then, the call has been confirmed but Teflon Trump doubled down openly asking Ukraine and China to investigate the Biden family. A strange move – launching the biggest retaliatory trade war in the world with the country that he deems to be the political opponent of the US … whilst simultaneously asking the same country for help with his upcoming political opponent … after fighting the three year long Mueller enquiry regarding allegations of an identical nature back in 2016.
Needless to say, many believe that somewhere among these murky communications, an impeachable offence has taken place.
Unfortunately, it is one of the worst defined parts of the Constitution. Under the Constitution, the president can be removed from office for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” What exactly that means is unclear. Historically, it can encompass corruption and other abuses of the public’s trust (the last form of reasoning was used for Bill Clinton) A president does not need to have violated a specific criminal law to have committed an impeachable offense. Impeachment is the first part of a two step process to remove a sitting president. This takes place in the lower chamber, the House of Representatives, where if passed a trial takes place in the Senate, presided over by the vice president. The Senate (controlled by the Republicans) would need ¾ majority in order to accomplish this, making it unlikely as 22 senators would have to turn against the party. No presidential impeachment has been successful, but the impending threat of being the first led to Nixon’s resignation.
25% of successful federal impeachments have been under the accusation of drunkenness. For those that aren’t fans of Donald, its maybe disappointing is more impartial to a diet coke and big mac than a pint or seven.